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2006 Acura TSX - Power Pages

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Dyno 1: Baseline
Peak HP 178.3 / Peak TQ 143.0

Pros
This year marks a new era for the Acura TSX, as a number of refinements and styling enhancements were implemented on one of America's most popular sport compact sedan. Boasting 205hp (5 more horsepower over the previous models) and 164 lb-ft of torque, the 2006 TSX 2.4-liter K24A2 received a larger throttle body, improved intake valve design, larger intake ducts for improved air flow and a more aggressive cam profile. Along with a high-flow catalytic and larger diameter exhaust piping, the TSX offers consumers a series of performance and luxury amenities all nestled into one package.

Cons
We noticed the factory ECU tuning on the 2.4-liter engine was less than impressive when spun on the dyno. The graphs showed a significant drop in horsepower at 6000rpm. Torque figures were adversely affected before the low cam to high cam transition of VTEC, as a gradual decline of more than 25 lb-ft of torque from 145 lb-ft to 120 lb-ft was recorded before the VTEC secondary lobes were finally engaged, increasing torque once again. What's the reason for the excessively high 6000rpm VTEC engagement you ask? We imagine it's nothing more than a ploy by Acura to showcase their VTEC to the average Joe. Consumers are more interested in feeling the secondary VTEC lobes kick in and pin you to the back of your seat. This jolt of power is a mental assurance among TSX owners that VTEC is readily present and can deliver horsepower with a simple romp of the pedal.

Notes
With 2500 miles on the odometer, the TSX was delivered to 2NR with only minor exterior modifications performed. A set of 18-inch Volk GT-U rims ride on TEIN Flex coilovers, while a showroom condition engine served as a perfect candidate to conduct testing for our power pages.

Dyno 2: K&N Typhoon Cold Air Intake
Peak HP 183.8 / Peak TQ 151.0

Horsepower Gain
1500 to 3500 HP range: -3 to 3
3500 to 5500 HP range: 5 to 7
5500 to redline HP range: 5 to 8

Torque Gain
1500 to 3500 TQ range: -4 to 10
3500 to 5500 TQ range: 6 to 13
5500 to redline TQ range: 5 to 8

Pros
If it's horsepower you crave, consider an air intake for your K-series engine. The easy-to-install K&N cold-air intake system is an affordable, yet effective modification that can yield some serious ponies under your hood. Sporting a highly polished aluminum exterior, the mandrel-bent construction reduces intake restriction that's often associated with the factory air box setup. A simple installation or removal of the two piece intake pipe can easily transform the Typhoon Air Intake System into either a short ram setup or a highly effective cold air intake system. We liked the fact that K&N stands 100 percent behind their products and offers a lifetime warranty to the vehicle's original owner and sports a 50-state CARB approved certification. Does the thought of climactic weather shower your head with doubts on purchasing a cold air intake? Fear not my friend. The K&N intake comes complete with a nylon fiber designed cover called a dry charger. The dry charger is installed over the K&N filter to safeguard against water and light sprinkles but don't be a fool and attempt to submerge your car underwater. It's a car, not a submarine

Cons
Installing the intake system does require the removal of the driver-side wheel and tire, under panel pieces, and some acrobatic stunts to squeeze your hands and fingers inside the cramped engine bay area. Although it's not the fault of K&N that the TSX was redesigned in 2006 with a small front bumper duct that proved to be a complete pain in the ass to remove, the cold-air kit does require the owner to take off the duct cover to access the reservoir box and bolts that reside under the bumper.

Parts
Performance filter, two-piece Typhoon intake tube, dry charger, brackets, washers, grommets, nuts and bolts, silicone hose, hose clamps, instructions, stickers, stud rubber mount.

Tools
10- and 12mm socket, 10mm-open end, ratchet, extension, swivel socket, screwdrivers and pliers

Installation Time
60 Minutes

Notes
A series of dyno pulls after installing the intake revealed the TSX had lost a maximum 3 horsepower and 7 lb-ft of torque from 2400 to 3000rpm. This is a common occurrence with any K24 engine that is equipped with an aftermarket intake. The reason behind the drop in horsepower was due to the aftermarket intake lacking the resonator found on the factory system. Even though horsepower did drop off at the earlier stages of the pull, the K&N intake had made up for the loss by gaining a consistent 5hp from 3100 to 3700rpm. Torque figures at the same range were valued at an increase of 5 to 7 lb-ft of torque. The K&N intake had worked its magic on the TSX as power gains were recorded across the board from 3100rpm to redline.

Dyno 3: DC Sports 4-2-1 Ceramic Header
Peak HP 188.9 / Peak TQ 151.2

Horsepower Gain
1500 to 3500 HP range: 1 to -5
3500 to 5500 HP range: 3 to 12
5500 to redline HP range: 0 to 13

Torque Gain
1500 to 3500 TQ range: 2 to 7
3500 to 5500 TQ range: 2 to 13
5500 to redline TQ range: 0 to 10

Pros
Available in mild steel or with a ceramic coating, the 2004-2006 4-2-1 designed TSX header is a logical choice when deciding among the dozens of systems sold on the market today. DC Sports states that every ceramic-coated system is hand-painted to ensure an even application of coating. This coating serves its main purpose of maintaining the proper temperatures within the header primaries while warding away the rest of the engine components from thermal heat. The number one reason why we at 2NR value this header is that this two-piece system comes with a 50-state legal CARB approved certification and sticker you can proudly showcase as a middle finger to law enforcement when pulled over.

Cons
We were skeptical at first when we unsheathed the header from its package to reveal aluminum O-rings replacing the standard composite type gaskets. Our doubts were quickly put to sleep when the vehicle fired up without any exhaust leaks. Using two CNC machined O-rings to conjoin the two-piece system between the collector and one placed between the catalytic flange, the O-ring, similar to a crush washer was the sensible choice by DC Sports over the conventional paper gasket material that often deteriorates or blows out with increased pressure.

Parts
Exhaust, doughnut flange, bolts, silencer, instructions.

Tools
12- and14mm socket, 14mm open end, ratchet, extension, WD40 and anti seize

Installation time
130 minutes

Notes
The TSX picked up a peak of 5 horsepower using the DC header over our previous run on the intake. Although torque numbers at their peak remain nearly identical to its previous run, you'll notice with the new dyno graph that the TSX benefited from the header from 6000rpm to redline with an increase of 13hp and 10 lb-ft of torque over baseline. From 3400rpm to 4800rpm, the overall gain of 12 peak horsepower and 13 lb-ft of torque were recorded on the dyno. DC sports were true to their advertisement when claiming their TSX header was a glutton for midrange power and torque.

Dyno 4: Hondata Reflash
Peak HP 188.9 / Peak TQ 152.3

Horsepower Gain
1500 to 3500 HP range: 0 to 5
3500 to 5500 HP range: 2 to 23
5500 to redline HP range: 38 to 13

Torque Gain
1500 to 3500 TQ range: 0 to -8
3500 to 5500 TQ range: 3 to 23
5500 to redline TQ range: 34 to 8

Pros
The authoritative source in Honda and Acura aftermarket engine management, Hondata Inc. of Torrance, Calif. has recently released a custom reflash program for the Acura TSX. What is a Hondata reflash and what does it do? The factory ECU is reprogrammed/reflashed with a new VTEC window and more aggressive ignition timing and cam timing to optimize the overall powerband. The most sought after feature for the reflash is the newly optimized VTEC crossover point which now activates at 4850 rpm; decreased from the original 6000 rpm setting. The new VTEC setting along with custom tailored timing and cam timing has been carefully preprogrammed by Hondata to maximize the K24's horsepower potential. Regardless if the vehicle's engine is still in stock form or using aftermarket bolt-on products such as a header and intake, the Hondata reflash can deliver an increase in horsepower and torque.

Cons
Purchasing a Hondata reflash requires the vehicle owner to remove the factory ECU, immobilizer (located on the steering column), and one ignition key to properly reprogram the factory ECU. Yes, it might sound like a pain in the ass, but be forewarned that neglecting to include any of these parts when shipping out to a Hondata authorized dealer will only delay the reflash process. Reflashing your factory ECU will guarantee an increase in usable horsepower and torque, but it comes with a price. After installing the newly reflashed Hondata ECU, the initial reaction among many TSX owners is the car seems to have lost its "kick" and abrupt pitch change normally felt and heard at 6000rpm when the switchover from low cam to high cam lobes has taken place. While it's mentally disturbing not to hear the VTEC engage, it should be noted that dyno testing shows a major gain in both horsepower and torque when comparing the before and after.

Parts
Factory ECU

Tools
10mm socket, ratchet, extension, Phillips screwdriver, ECU removal instructions are found on Hondata website

Installation Time
1 to 2 days shipped and returned from Hondata authorized dealer. Simple plug-and-play process.

Notes
Don't be fooled by minimal peak horsepower and torque gains from our previous header install. If you carefully look at the dyno run, you'll be pleasantly surprised to notice the smoother, more linear horsepower and torque curve after installing the Hondata reflash. Notice that drop at 6000rpm where the previous VTEC crossover stumbled is now non-existent with a gain of 38hp and 34 lb-ft of torque over our baseline run. The TSX seemed to flourish with the Hondata reflash as the expanded RPM range from the factory 7300rpm to 7600rpm also benefited the Acura as the 2.4-liter engine continued to climb in horsepower and showed no signs of letting up.

Conclusion
It's amazing when you consider the potential of the K-series motors now being offered in every Honda and Acura sold on the market today. Who could have imagined that slapping on an intake, header, and reflashed ECU would offer crisp throttle response and improved power from the midrange to redline. A drive around the block revealed a day and night difference when hammering down the accelerator. Our ultimate test phase was established in a third gear run which is known by any TSX owner to come off as sluggish when coasting on the road and abruptly applying the gas. The newfound power was definitely noticeable as third gear now pushed us back into the seats and the vehicle felt as if the TSX was equipped with a race transmission.

BANKROLL
K&N Typhoon Cold Air Intake
$325.00
DC Sports 4-2 -1 Ceramic Header
$ 435.24
Hondata Reflash
$ 595.00
MSRP Total $1355.24

CONCLUSION HP Level +HP TQ Level +TQ
Baseline 178.3 143.0
K&N Typhoon Cold Air Intake 183.8 5.5 151.0 8.0
DC Sports 4-2 -1 Ceramic Header 188.9 5.1 151.2 0.2
Hondata Reflash 188.9 0.0 152.3 1.1
Final 188.9 10.6 152.3 9.3

HOTBOX
K&N Engineering
1455 Citrus Street
Riverside
CA  92507
800-858-3333
www.knfilters.com
Hondata
2840 Columbia St.
Torrance
CA  90503
310-782-8278
http://www.hondata.com
DC Sports
768 S. Turnbull Canyon Rd
City of Industry
CA  91746
800-237-7560
www.dcsports.com
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